1796 25C Draped Bust Quarter Dollar, Small Eagle NGC XF45
Here is an opportunity for a numismatist with the necessary funds to acquire a greatly desired rarity. David Hall writes, "The 1796 quarter was the first U.S. quarter. It is also a one year only type coin ... Draped Bust, small eagle ... and the only U.S. quarter struck in the 18th century. This is a rare coin in all grades." Out of its mintage of 6,146 there have been 8 graded XF45 by NGC with 75 finer.
Numismatic scholar and bibliophile P. Scott Rubin writes,
The 1796 Quarter Dollar is a rare coin with a reported mintage of only 6,146 coins. It is a one year type coin and the only denomination of U.S. coinage issued for circulation which was not produced the year following its first issue. In fact it would take eight years before the second date quarter dollar was issued. This unique occurrence seems to have an effect on the survival rate for the 1796 quarter, it appears many were saved and more then would be expected were saved in pristine condition.
Let us not think that this makes this coin common, even with a more than expected survival rate this coin is not available in numbers that would appease the collectors who wish to own one today. Only to collectors with ample resources is this coin available. Only twenty to forty-five quarters of 1796 have been offered at auction in any of the last ten years in any grade. In the same time period only two to seven coins graded Uncirculated were offered per year. More historic research tends to show that on average since the mid-1850’s this coin appears on average of fifteen times a year in all grades and only two coins a year in Uncirculated at auction. This is why this one year type coin commands high prices.
The first U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, where this classic rarity was struck. Source: Wikimedia
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